2. It tastes good!
Without both of these end results, molecular gastronomy techniques are useless.
Last night I decided to tackle spherification, again. The first time around I made balsamic caviar, not realizing that with the use of agar, (a tougher jelling agent) actually continued to solidify the longer it sat. Agar did not give me the consistency of a fluid center like I had hoped, it rendered small jellied beads of balsamic vinegar. After experimenting with agar, I now know that it could be better used to make noodles, fruit beads, or other solidified gels, but necessarily the best product for liquid spherification.
To achieve fluid centers, there are 2 ways to do this, one that will hold as a liquid for a few hours before the calcium turns it into a complete gel and the other way, using reverse spherification, which will allow the spheres to hold fluid in the center for a longer period of time (up to a week). I will explain both.
- Blender or Vita Mix
- Cheese cloth
- Small slotted spoon
- Calcium alginate
- Calcium lactate
- Gram scale
The Modernist Cuisine Recipe and Method:
Tomato Water: 250 grams
- 1kg of Tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
- Salt to taste
- Blend in a vita mix until tomatoes are pulverized.
- Strain through cheesecloth in a chinois, repeat if necessary, pulp-free tomato water should result. Reserve to the side or refrigerate until use.
Tomato Spheres with Basil Oil:
- 250 g Tomato water
- 2 g Sodium Alginate
- 200 g Grapeseed oil
- 100 g Basil
- 500 g Water
- 2.5 g Calcium lactate
- In a vitamix blend pour in 250g of tomato water and start power, slowly tap in 2 g of sodium alginate, mix well for about 4 minutes on med-high speed. Press through a chinois or fine sieve, and refrigerate. After this process, bubbles will be present in the mixture, to remove these let this sit overnight in the fridge or if you have a commercial vacuum sealer, vacuum pack it to quickly remove air for immediate use.
- To make the Basil oil, blanch and shock the basil. Combine with 200g of grapeseed oil in a vitamix, blend until homogenized. Press through a sieve, decant basil oil, and reserve in a syringe.
- To make the calcium lactate water bath, combine 500g of water and 2.5g of calcium lactate. Pour water into the vitamix, turn on, then sprinkle calcium lactate into the water a few pinches at a time, blend until completely homogenized. **Sprinkling in the powders into the liquids will prevent clumping and gelling.
- Set up 4 water baths: fill one with calcium lactate solution and fill the three others with cold water.
- Fill tablespoon with reserved tomato water solution.
- Tip spoon into calcium lactate bath to gently release contents.
- Set in bath until membrane has fully formed around tomato sphere, about 30 seconds.
- Inject approx .1 oz of basil oil into the submerged sphere.
- Remove sphere from bath with perforated spoon.
- Repeat procedures with remaining tomato water solution and basil oil.
- Rinse spheres in each of the three cold water baths.